Asm. Bill Quirk

LEGISLATURE//FRACKING | When it has to do with science, he becomes Dr. Quirk.

On Wednesday, a controversial and water-down fracking bill cleared the State Legislature, but not before Assembly Speaker John Perez called on Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk to urge for its passage, while bestowing him the honorific of doctor.

Critics say the bill allows the fracking industry to begin cracking rocks in the potentially lucrative Monterey Shale formation along the coast of Central California before state regulators can discern its potential danger.

Quirk is a trained nuclear physicist and educator who ran for the seat last year partly on the notion his scientific expertise would add significantly to the discourse in the Legislature. However, Quirk’s opinions don’t allow pencil out in favor of environmentalists.

Despite his extensive academic resume, Quirk’s critics in Hayward have long criticized his support as a Hayward council member in approving the Russell City Energy Center, a natural gas-fired power plant on its shoreline. The power plant came online last month. Quirk maintains it does not pose a health risk to Hayward residents, nor to the thousands of students who attend class just a mile away at Chabot College.

He also doesn’t believe Senate Bill 4 presents a danger to the state’s ground water and geology. Watch Quirk’s knowledge of the intricacies of fracking in the clip below.

Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Bob Wieckowski and Quirk voted for the bill, which supporters labeled as the next best thing to a blanket moratorium on fracking favored by environmentalists. Assemblymember Nancy Skinner was absent for the roll call. In the State Senate, East Bay Sens. Ellen Corbett and Loni Hancock approved the bill.<!–